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Every parent of toddlers and preschoolers covets the blessed sound of silence. And not like the scary oh-no-what-are-my-kids-doing-in-the-other-room silence. No, we mean the sound of your kids playing quietly (and safely), particularly when they’re working their little brains and doing something educational. That’s why moms and dads love Montessori play busy books—made with soft, touchable (often washable!) fabrics, interactive pages with flaps that lift, pieces that move, snaps and buckles to snap together and take apart. Montessori busy books keep developing minds engaged and tiny hands busy, making them must-haves for homes (and cars and planes) where little ones might be.
What is a Montessori busy book?
Montessori busy books, also often called “quiet books,” are built around the overarching philosophy of Montessori learning—fostering student-led, hands-on, engaged learning. The Montessori ideal—as quoted by Maria Montessori herself—is all about letting kids direct their own learning, taking their experience in any direction that feels natural for them.
“It is the child’s way of learning. This is the path he follows. He learned everything without knowing he is learning it . . . treading always in the paths of joy and love.” —Maria Montessori
Also, Montessori books might encourage “quiet” play, but they are quite interactive and involve busy little hands actively touching, experiencing and moving pieces around as they turn page after page.
Because they are so interactive and include activities like spinning the hands of a clock, buttoning buttons and zipping zippers, and also include soft, touchable fabrics like felt, cotton, and wool, Montessori busy books assist in the development of fine motor skills while also encouraging sensory play for young children.
Why are parents choosing Montessori busy books over other types of books?
While books of all forms are valuable to a child’s developing mind, parents of toddlers and preschoolers are choosing Montessori busy books for their hands-on, interactive approach. While another children’s book will tell an imaginative story or simply encourage a child to point to the letter “A”, a Montessori busy book might have a letter “A” made of felt, attached by a string, that the child can lift off the page and move around, encouraging a much more interactive experience with learning letters. And then on the next page, they might find shoelaces to string through holes around the letter “A”, furthering their connection to the letter and also enhancing their fine motor skills.
Also, because they are so “busy” (hence the name) and have endless options for kids to engage with activities on each page, a Montessori busy book is more likely to lead to independent learning (i.e. keep a child “busy” while self-directing their own learning) for a longer period of time, and that’s why they fit the Montessori model.
What age are Montessori busy books best suited for?
Toddlers and preschoolers are the ideal age for these unique, interactive books that encourage self-directed learning. But babies can get in on the fun too, in a supervised setting. A true Montessori busy book will be made from soft, non-toxic materials, so babies can flip the pages and pull on all the pieces at an early age. Some Montessori busy books include buttons, snaps, and other types of moveable pieces, so just like any other toy, never leave a baby alone with one.
Here are our 10 favorite Montessori Busy Books to stock your book shelves, bring along on car rides and pack in your carry-ons before you embark on your next trip.